Sprint PCS to begin 3G migration this year

Despite reports that some carriers are hitting snags with the implementation of third-generation (3G) wireless networks and services, Sprint Group announced on Tuesday that it is on track and will begin migrating its US network to 3G technology later this year. 3G technology lets carriers significantly increase their wireless networks' capacity to transmit voice and data.

Sprint will roll out its 3G technology in four phases, the company said in a statement. The first phase of the deployment will be to migrate to a CDMA2000 (Code Division Multiple Access 2000) network, which will double the Sprint PCS network's capacity for voice communications, increase data transmission speeds from 14.4K-bps (bits per seconds) to 144K-bps and lower handset battery consumption, the company said. The announcement was made at the CTIA Wireless 2001 Conference in Las Vegas. In early 2003, Sprint PCS will move to the second stage in its 3G transition and offer data speeds of up to 307K-bps. By late 2003, data transmission speeds will reach up to 2.4M-bps, and in early 2004 transmission speeds for voice and data will hit between 3M-bps and 5M-bps.

The first phase of the 3G migration will not require Sprint PCS customers to buy new handsets unless they want to use new 3G services and applications, the company said.

In recent weeks, talk about 3G has soured after months of hype about the myriad application possibilities that the technology offers. Analysts have questioned how some carriers will make money given the amount of money they have spent to obtain 3G spectrum. Some observers question how much demand there is for 3G services. Compounding the matter are the delays in 3G network implementations. Sprint has invested approximately US$3.4 billion to date for its nationwide spectrum, the company said. Sprint said it plans to invest between $700 million and $800 million more to introduce wireless high-speed packet data throughout the US by 2002. Companies supporting Sprint CPS's 3G migration include Lucent Technologies, Motorola Nortel Networks and Qualcomm.

Sprint, in Westwood, Kansas, can be reached at +1-913-624-3000 or at http://www.sprint.com/.

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